Insectary Plants to Enhance Beneficial Insects: Expanding the Palette to Increase Options for Sustainable Crop Production in the NC Region

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2014: $199,887.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Douglas Landis
Michigan State University

Annual Reports

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: pollinator habitat
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: biological control
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation


    The goal of this project was to conduct research and education to increase the availability of insectary plants to enhance beneficial insects in the North-Central Region. In 2015-2016, we conducted weekly sampling of natural enemy and pollinator abundance on 54 species of plants in three common-garden research sites located at:  Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC), the Clarksville Research Center (CRC), and the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC). Overall, our data show that many native plant species are highly attractive to both pollinators and natural enemies with floral area being the best predictor of attractiveness. Among the species we tested, plants can be selected from early, mid, and late bloom periods to provide continuous resources for pollinators and natural enemies throughout the growing season.  Stakeholders were informed of our results through field days, extension presentations, a dedicated website, scientific talks and peer reviewed publications. 

    Project objectives:


    1. Improved stakeholder knowledge of which insectary plants best support pest-controlling and pollinating insects, especially for use in dry soils.
    2. Increased access to “best practices” for establishing and maintaining insectary habitats through peer-reviewed research publications, an extension bulletin, annual demonstration field-days at multiple locations, webinars, and website development.
    3. Improved understanding of the benefits of multi-floral resources for beneficial insects.
    4. Enhanced land manager skills in utilizing insectary plants to support arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in farmland.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.